September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are overweight, and it’s estimated that obesity results in $14 billion per year in direct health care costs. The U.S. is doing its part to raise awareness of the obesity issue, and has provided a downloadable toolkit full of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month resources. For more info, visit http://www.COAM-month.org.
Today in my daughter’s science class, the science teacher asked how many of the kids drank out of stainless steel water bottles. Shockingly, my daughter and one other child were the only ones to raise their hands! Honestly, I really don’t see any reason why anyone would still be drinking out of plastic bottles. It is expensive, toxic to our health, and destroys our environment. I bet if I asked all the parents of those children about buying organic and healthy food for their families, they would claim that it is too expensive. However, before I stopped using plastic water bottles, I spent $90 a month on bottled water for just my daughter and I. $90 would certainly buy a lot of fruits and vegetables for the month, don’t you think?
My daughter also tells me about the large numbers of children who keep the same plastic water bottle at their desk for months on end and keep refilling it. These bottles have never been meant for multiple use. They are for one time use only and will just keep leaching all kinds of toxins into your water for every use after that. Anyone who has any concern about their own health, our environment and/or the burdens of the oil industry would do well to filter their tap water and make the switch to stainless steel (my current bottle cost me $2). If you need any more convincing, watch this video:
In October, my dear friends, Jeff and Reamy Newman will be hosting the Pink and Black Fundraiser for Elizabeth Lobato.
A month before Elizabeth was born, her parents, Mary and Terry, learned heartbreaking news from their obstetrician: An ultrasound had revealed that their baby was seriously underdeveloped. Her chances of living past 10 months were slim to none. “It was devastating,” Mary recalled. “All we could ask was ‘why?’”
Two doctors and a pediatrician assisted with Elizabeth’s birth in June 1998. Her legs, ribs, collar bones and right arm were broken.Elizabeth’s condition was diagnosed as typeIII Osteogenesis Imperfecta, known as brittle bone disease. Right away, she was placed on a drug regimen to manage pain and prevent seizures. Mary and Terry began to search for effective treatment options. This search led them to Dr. Edwin Horwitz, where he was treating the symptoms of brittle bone disease with bone marrow transplants. At the age of six months old, it was the first glimpse of hope Mary and Terry found for their daughter.
Days after her first birthday,Elizabeth received a bone marrow transplant and started follow-up therapy. In 2004, she underwent a stem cell infusion. Since then,Elizabeth has made steady progress. Elizabeth is still undergoing treatment, receiving stem cell infusions from her dad every four months and follow ups from her bone marrow transplant.
Over the past few years, Elizabeth has gradually moved away from using her wheelchair and walker. She has not used her walker since Christmas 2007. Additionally, she’s also grown in height, which is unusual for someone with typeIIIOsteogenesis Imperfecta. However recently,Elizabeth has lost her ability to walk and her only wish is to simply walk again.
Elizabeth is an amazing girl; she has become quite the teenager. She loves perfume and the colors pink and black. Her favorite artist is Taylor Swift, she loves to sing, and her favorite movies are the Harry Potter series. One day would like to become a pediatrician.
My 10 year old daughter makes headbands and jewelry, and was asked if she would be willing to sell these at the fundraiser and donate the proceeds to finding a cure for Lizzie’s disease. Always one to lend a helping hand, my daughter jumped at the chance to help this little girl and other children like her.
I. too, wanted to help out. So, for the month of October, for every person who signs up for the 28 Days to Health detoxification program, I will donate 50% of the program fee to Elizabeth’s cause. For those who sign up by September 30, the program fee is half off, so I will donate 100% of their program fee.
For those of you who have already gone through the program or aren’t quite ready to do so, but still would like to help out, you may go to elizabethlobato.com to make a donation.
People are always so amazed at how well my daughter eats, even when I am not there to supervise her. Over the years she has learned how to make healthy choices for herself. How did I do this? By teaching her cause and effect. Eating the wrong things can give her a stomach ache, a sinus infection, intestinal distress, anxiety, and so much more. By pointing out the effects of her food choices, she learned that it’s just not worth it. If a child can figure this out, one would hope any one could. Do you know what your body is telling you? Wake up and listen, your health depends on it.
In my quest to be gluten free I have been on the hunt for some very tasty gluten free foods. All of these new goodies have been found at Mother’s Market. If they don’t have one close to you, call them up and tell them to build one because they are one of the best health food stores around!
The first snack I came across were kickin’ kale krisps by Leaf Organics. This was the first kale snack I have found that didn’t contain an ingredient that I’m allergic to. I’m not sure how to describe the flavor of this delicious treat, but it is intense to say the least. It is found in a brown paper bag in the gluten free section found in the front of the store.
Next, in the same section, I found Mary’s Gone Crackers Sticks and Twigs. These gluten free pretzel sticks have just a hint of sea salt and can be very addictive. Please note nutritional label states that just 8 of these treats have 5 grams of fat, so don’t overindulge!
There are two gluten free bread products I have found that my 10 year old gives two thumbs up to. The first, Food for Life gluten free english muffins, she discovered at Grandma’s house. She told me that they are better than any other english muffin she’s ever eaten, and I had to agree with her. The second was Rudi’s gluten free multigrain sandwich bread. I’m not much of a bread person, so I haven’t tried it. However, the kiddo said it’s her new favorite bread so I’m guessing it’s pretty good! Both of these items are found in the freezer section at Mother’s Market.
Last, but not least, while I was on my cleanse last year I discovered a dairy free, soy free, and gluten free energy bar called Larabar. These bars have the shortest ingredient list I have ever seen, consisting of only fruits and nuts. They are high in sugar but it is strictly sugar from the fruits, nothing added. My only comment about this bar is, if you have any nut allergies, check the labels. The flavor name doesn’t always reveal what’s in the bar and I had 2 incidents where I ate one with something I’m allergic to.
If you’re looking to add a few healthier snacks to your diet, I highly recommend all of these. My daughter loves them all, so don’t be afraid to try them out on your kids as well!
- Monster Nutrition Mungo the nutrition monster will eat everything in his path. Kids must quickly choose what to feed him: the healthier their choices, the higher their score. www.nutritionexplorations.org/kids/activities/monster.asp
- MyPyramid Blast Off Kids can reach outer space by fueling a rocket with healthy foods and physical activity. Each food group has a separate fuel tank so kids can keep track of how their choices fit into the food pyramid www.mypyramid.gov/kids/kids_game.html
- Nutrition Tracker This downloadable game encourages kids to keep track of what they eat and compares their food choices with the daily recommended servings for each food group. www.nutritionexplorations.org/kids/activities/tracker.asp
- Chef Solus’s Cooking School Kids cook with Chef Solus by following recipes and learning about healthy food choices. www.nourishinteractive.com/en/kids/solus-cooking-game/solus-cooking-game
My daughter loves this chili and it’s perfect on cold nights like these!
- 1 1/4 lb ground turkey
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15oz) can organic black beans
- 3/4 cup refried black beans
- 1/2 cup chipotle salsa
- 2 Tbsp barbecue sauce
1) Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Add ground cumin and cook 1 minute longer.
2) Add remaining ingredients. Refried beans need to be broken up and stirred into the chili until dissolved.
3) When chili comes to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
I’ve had some requests for the recipes of meals my daughter loves. Here are just a couple very easy and tasty dishes.
4 medium sized whole wheat tortillas
1 cup Eggplant Garlic Spread (Trader Joes‘s)
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Cover each tortilla with 1/4 cup eggplant spread and place on baking sheet. Top with tomatoes and feta
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tortillas are golden and crisp on edges.
This is a spin off the above recipe and makes taco night different and interesting!
Prepare above recipe, fold into a taco, and add bite size pieces of cooked chicken.
Halloween is upon us again, and with it the accumulation of enough candy to feed a village! While it’s fun to dress up and go trick-or-treating, it is not necessary for kids to consume so much sugar. There are a lot of ways parents can go about reducing their kids intake of candy.
My daughter is permitted a few pieces of candy on Halloween. Next, I go through her candy and pull out her favorites. This is typically anything chocolate and skittles. The rest goes in the trash*. I place her favorites in a large ziploc bag, and every time we go see a movie, I pull out one or two pieces of candy and take them with us. My daughter still feels like she is getting a treat at the movies, yet its a fraction of the size (and sugar) one would buy at the theater, and it costs me nothing. That candy lasts the entire year!
For those who have a difficult time keeping their own hand out of their child’s Halloween candy, just keep in mind that there is something to be said for modeling self-control to your children. If you cannot model this very important characteristic, chances are they never will learn self-control either.
*Some children may need to be bribed with a gift in order to part with their candy =)
Here’s to a safe and happy Halloween!